After watching the experiences of Nordstrom’s and L.L. Bean, some of my friends and clients have asked about the appropriate response if your brand is embroiled in one of President Trump’s tweets.
We live in a divided nation. 48% of voters cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, and 46% voted for Donald Trump. If you respond to a political situation in a way that can be viewed as favorable to one side, you alienate about half the electorate. My advice is to stay away from political topics unless you are engaged in an issue that is fundamental to your corporate DNA.
Skittles, and its parent company Wrigley, deftly sidestepped its involuntary depiction in the refugee controversy: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”
Don’t politicize your brand if you can avoid it. One of Boeing’s core businesses, building aircraft for the government, was criticized in a presidential tweet. So it made sense for Boeing to defend its brand without inviting a fight. “We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
Six factors every brand should consider when taking a political stance:
- Does the issue affect your brand’s core DNA?
- Are you aligned with credible partners?
- Collect and leverage relevant data.
- Have clearly articulated policies.
- Remember that customers and employees, regardless of political orientation, are your friends.
- Consider actions in your brand’s overall context. Timing is key.
General Motors, Amazon, Delta, Starbucks, Carrier, The New York Times, and even Ivanka Trump fashions have all been forced to navigate the perilous waters of today’s political environment. Proceed with caution.
You need additional answers? We’ve got them. Please join us on Tuesday, March 7th for a live global webinar as we explore the depths of How Your Brand Can Weather A Political “Tweet Storm.”
Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 1-2pm EST, 12-1pm CST
Register here: After your request has been approved, you’ll receive instruction for joining the meeting